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New Report Shows Extreme Biodiversity Loss Globally, Demonstrates Urgent Need for Urban Action on Nature

A new international scientific report warns of grave impacts to come as nature declines at an unprecedented rate. The report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) estimated that one million species are threatened with extinction today and that extinction rates are accelerating.

It is the first global assessment on the state of biodiversity since 2005. Called “the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,” it finds that the current global response is insufficient and transformative change is needed.

The global assessment is “the most important report the world needs to take note of. We want to thank and salute the scientific community from around the world who worked for so many long hours, weeks, months and indeed years to bring us the report, with its very clear wake-up call,” said Kobie Brand, Global Director, ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center.

The report was authored by 145 experts - with contributions from 300 more - from 50 countries and took three years to create. It is based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, as well as indigenous and local knowledge and charts the changes seen in biodiversity from the last fifty years, showing the relationship between economic development and impacts on nature.

Sunandan Tiwari, Director Global Implementation at ICLEI World Secretariat, represented the organization at the stakeholder day prior to the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, at which members adopted the report. ICLEI’s message was “as urbanization is one of the key threats to biodiversity, we encourage IPBES members to engage local and regional governments in the second work programme.” The second work programme is the next phase of activities to be carried out by IPBES.

The report also presents a collection of potential actions in urban areas to protect biodiversity. These include implementation of nature-based solutions, increasing access to urban services and a healthy urban environment for low-income communities, improving access to green spaces, and sustainable production and consumption and ecological connectivity within urban spaces, particularly with native species, as strategies for change.

The release was accompanied by strong messages on the importance of nature through the METZ Biodiversity charter adopted by the G7 Environment Ministers which specifically calls for the engagement of local and other subnational governments and the OECD report on the economic value of nature which makes the business case for action on biodiversity.

The new CitiesWithNature platform founded by ICLEI, TNC and IUCN, offers shared space for cities and their partners to engage and connect, working with shared commitment towards a more sustainable urban world. “It is a transformative game changer for all cities and city-regions - large and small - and their fast growing urban communities” says Kobie Brand, Global Director of the ICLEI Cities Biodiversity Center. “If mayors, governors and their communities take hands to plan, live, develop and thrive in harmony with nature, in and around our cities, collectively we can become that wave of change and inspiration the world needs now.”

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